FC Western caused the upset of the round, knocking over competition frontrunners New Plymouth Rangers in a Taranaki premier grade football match at New Plymouth's Lynmouth Park on Saturday.
The entertaining match ended in a 1-0 victory to FC Western, who retained the Challenge Cup that the New Plymouth team lifted last year.
The game started brightly, both teams sharing possession equally.
Rangers thought they had made the breakthrough after 14 minutes, only for striker Hayden Laird to be ruled offside after he tapped the ball in from two metres.
Western started to get a hold on the game 10 minutes after halftime, controlling possession and dictating play.
The breakthrough finally came in the 65th minute. A through ball into the channel to the side of the Rangers central defenders saw midfielder Johnathan Fletcher run on to the ball from 10 yards into the attacking half. Fletcher outpaced the last defender and showed composure to chip the keeper.
Western starved the Rangers strikers of the ball, limiting them to a couple of corners and shots from outside the area, while creating chances of their own.
It was Rangers' first loss of the season.
They were left to rue missed opportunities, including Nathan Hill hitting the post, Jeremy Hill hitting the bar and Mickey Stevens heading straight at the keeper from a well struck corner.
FC Western will defend the Challenge Cup four more times this season - each at home.
Peringa United got back on winning track when beating New Plymouth Boys' High School 2-1 at Peringa Park.
The win puts Peringa third on the nine-team points table behind leaders Rangers and FC Western.
The game marked the return from injury of Boys' High's Gian Squatriti.
NPBHS had the lion's share of the ball but Peringa missed the best chance of the half from eight metres out.
It took until 15 minutes into the second half before NPBHS broke the deadlock. Kai Nakamura picked the ball up just outside the box, dropped his shoulder to evade the defender and shot low past the keeper into the bottom corner.
The lead was short lived. Minutes later NPBHS failed to clear a corner leaving Peringa's Dan Malone to lob the ball into the top corner of the goal.
Ten minutes later Peringa took the lead with a carbon copy of their first goal, this time left back Alex Clarke scoring from a superb strike into the top of the goal.
In the dying moments Nico Lyons' free-kick hit the bar and bounced down on the line. The referee said no goal.
The windy conditions played a big part in the drawn match between Francis Douglas Memorial College and Inglewood at the college grounds in New Plymouth.
FDMC played into the wind and seemed to enjoy more possession, but failed to convert their dominance into goals
After 20 minutes FDMC left back Ben Moore ghosted into the Inglewood penalty area on the left side, chopped the ball back onto his right foot before hitting a well- timed shot past the keeper at the near post to put his side 1-0 up.
Inglewood struggled to get their game going and seldom threatened the FDMC goal.
With 20 minutes left in the second half, Inglewood started to gain parity and were awarded a penalty after a seemingly innocuous challenge in the box.
Up stepped midfielder Paul Davidson who smashed the penalty home to level the scores 1-1.
In the other premier match on Saturday, Moturoa beat Eltham 2-1.
- Taranaki Daily News
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